The Deerstalker train about to leave Fort William

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"The best scheduled train in Britain..."

...says The Man in Seat 61.  Imagine a train which leaves rainy central London after work and arrives next morning at Fort William in the glorious West Highlands at the foot of Ben Nevis, the highest mountain in Britain.  Imagine a trip where you dine in a lounge then go to bed as the train speeds through London commuterland at 80mph, then wake up surrounded by mountains, streams and woods, sunlight streaming through the window, deer bounding away from the train, a diesel locomotive struggling to haul the two sleeping-cars and lounge car up steep gradients and around sharp curves on the wonderful West Highland Line at 40 mph.  Imagine a train that has sleeping compartments and a lounge with restaurant service - yet on which fares start at 140 including private room with bed for the night.  Don't just imagine such a train, take it, it's the best train in Britain.  It's the train they call The Deerstalker.  See the video and believe...

Onwards to Mallaig & the Isle of Skye...  From Fort William you can take a train to the end of the line at Mallaig, a tiny fishing port and terminal for the CalMac ferry to Armadale on the Isle of Skye.  It's the most scenic section of line in the UK, and you'll cross the Glenfinnan Viaduct of Harry Potter fame on the way.  Or you can stay in Fort William and climb Ben Nevis, the highest mountain in Britain.  The main track up 'the Ben' starts 15 minutes walk from Fort William station.  See the West Highland Line page for more information.

On this page...


On the Caledonian Sleeper page...

small bullet point  The journey in photos   


small bullet point  What's the train like?   

  small bullet point  How much does it cost?

small bullet point  Watch the video...


small bullet point  Timetable

  small bullet point  How to buy tickets

What's the train like See the Caledonian Sleeper page

See the Caledonian Sleeper page for a complete guide to the facilities on the Caledonian Sleeper trains between London & Scotland.  The London to Fort William portion of the train consists of just two sleeping-cars, one 1st class with single-bed compartments, one standard class with 2-berth compartments.  In the evening you can use the lounge car in the London-Aberdeen portion.  In the morning another lounge car and a seats/baggage car are attached between Edinburgh & Fort William. 

This page shows the old sleeper trains.  Brand new carriages, including some sleepers with double beds and en suite toilet & shower entered service on this route from 9 October 2019, see the photos of the new train here.

The journey in photos See the video

Here we'll take a magical southbound trip in summer on the overnight Fort William to London Caledonian Sleeper, they train they call the Deerstalker.  It runs in both directions every night of the week except Saturday nights, all year round except a few days at Christmas.  See a map of the UK rail network.  Compare these summer photo with the snowy winter ones on the West Highland Line page!

Fort William station   Boarding at Fort William station

1.  The Caledonian Sleeper to London boards at Fort William Station.  It may not be Scotland's most beautiful station, built in 1975 - the original castle-like station was behind the high street next to the pier, the ring-road was built where the rails used to run.  But it's the start for Britain's most beautiful train ride...

Caledonian sleeper lounge car   Haggis, tatties n neeps

2. Take your seats for dinner in the lounge, perhaps haggis, tattties 'n neeps & a glass or two of red?  Tip:  For the best views, find a seat on the right hand side of the lounge car going south, or the left hand side going north.   More lounge car info.


3.  You leave Fort William just before 8pm with Ben Nevis on the right, the highest mountain in Britain at 4,409 feet or 1,344m.  The foot of the hiking trail up 'the Ben' is only 15 minutes walk from Fort William station...

Monessie Gorge

4.  After Roy Bridge station (or after Tulloch going north) the train runs along the pretty Monessie Gorge on the right hand side.  You'll see a better view of the Gorge in the video below.

Loch Treig

5.  The train passes the beautiful Loch Treig, also on the right hand side...

Rannoch Moor

6.  The train now crosses the desolate Rannoch Moor, where the railway is 'floated' across the peat bog on layers of turf and brushwood without solid foundations.  And yes, big deer with huge mossy antlers were spotted from the train on this trip, more than once.  The train reaches the highest point of the line at Corrour Summit, 1,350 feet above sea level, marked by a big metal sign to the left of the train.  Corrour station is the most remote station in Britain, only reachable by train or a dirt track - the station featured in the 1996 film 'Trainspotting'.  Rannoch station is only a little less inaccessible...

The horseshoe curve around Beinn Dorain

7.  Just north of Tyndrum the train rounds the horseshoe curve under Beinn Dorain (3524 feet high), Beinn a' Chaiseil (2897 feet) & Beinn Odhar (2948 feet).  The railway builders hadn't the money for a large viaduct across the mouth of the valley so they had to build the line into and right around the valley.

Sunset with Beinn Dorain in the background

8.  Sunset just after the horseshow curve.  That's Beinn Dorain on the right.  Next stop is Tyndrum, the smallest place in Britain to have two stations, Tyndrum Upper on the line from Ft William and Tyndrum Lower on the line from Oban.

More scenery on the West Highland line

9.  Heading south of Tyndrum.  It'll soon be time for bed...

In bed after breakfast   On the way into London

10.  Nighty night...  The train continues through the night, passing through Glasgow, coupling up to the Aberdeen-London & Inverness sleeper portions after midnight at Edinburgh, and running at up to 80mph south to London through Carstairs, Carlisle, Preston, Stafford, Rugby & Watford.  Click here for an online map of the UK rail network.  Next morning, breakfast is served in your compartment by your steward...

In bed after breakfast   On the way into London

11.  Feet up after breakfast...


12.  The busy West Coast Main Line, such a contrast...

Arrived at London Euston   London Euston station

13.  Journey's end, arrival at London Euston just before 8am.

large bullet pointWatch the video:  A summer night's journey from Fort William to London...

A reminder:  This video shows the old trains, in use until 8 October 2019.  Brand new carriages, including some sleepers with double beds and en suite toilet & shower entered service on this route from 9 October 2019, see the photos & video of accommodation on the new trains here.

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